Madonna recently gave an exclusive interview to Out! Magazine in which she spoke a lot about the influence gay men have had on her life.
When Madonna was in middles school, her ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn, was the first person she knew that caused her to feel "conscious of understanding that there was such a thing as gay,” she says.
“It wasn’t called that then. I just came to understand that he was attracted to men.” Flynn was a huge influence on Madonna.
“He would bring me to museums. He also brought me to the first gay disco in Detroit, Menjo’s.”
In fact, it was her own brother's behavior around her ballet teacher, as opposed to other girls, that clued Madonna in that she actually lived closer to that part of America than she thought.
“It wasn’t something I could articulate; it was just something instinctual that I noticed,” Madonna said. “My brother always had a lot of girls around him that seemed like they were madly in love with him, but he didn’t seem like he was madly in love with them. And then I saw him interacting with my ballet teacher, and in my mind I unconsciously went, 'Oh, I get it.' I didn’t ask my brother if he was gay. I didn’t even know there was a phrase ‘gay.’ I just understood that they were different. There was some silent, unspoken understanding that they had a connection.”
Eventually, Madonna identified so much with New York's gay community that she felt out of place in the rest of the world, particularly among heterosexual men.
“I felt kind of left out,” she says. “I didn’t feel like straight men understood me. They just wanted to have sex with me. Gay men understood me, and I felt comfortable around them. There was only that one problem, which is that they didn’t want to have sex with me! So…conundrum! I was like, ‘How am I ever going to get a date? Maybe if I cut my hair and I lose a lot of weight, someone will mistake me for a guy and ask me out.’ ”